Kim Dotcom puts up $13,500 bounty for first person to break Mega’s security system

Feb 01

Kim Dotcom is so confident in the security system at Mega, the newly launched file storage service, that the New Zealand-based German is offering a bounty of €10,000 (approx. US$13,580) to the first person who breaks it.

Last week, Dotcom said that he would offer up a prize for any enterprising hackers, after the site was criticized for the way that it handles security. A Mega blog post dismissed points raised by Ars Technica and Forbes, explaining that the site will soon be boosted by new measures, including a change password feature and more, to increase the security of accounts and data.

Mega, which launched less than two weeks ago, is storing nearly 50 million files and it passed 1 million registered users after just one day online.

The bounty offer is part of Mega’s ongoing focus on improvement while it is in beta — “You find a bug. We fix it,” Dotcom said last week, and such financial carrots are dangled by most major tech firms, albeit in a less public fashion. Facebook, Google, Dropbox and countless others provide developers with cash payments and official acknowledgements if they find bugs and issues.

The service has come under pressure around the subject of file sharing this week. Dotcom previously maintained that the site would be “powered by legality and protected by the law”, and says 20 lawyers have pored over the service from a copyright violation stand-point, however critics have pointed out that 50 GB can be used to harbor a large amount of video content, which could be distributed via the service.

Yesterday, Dotcom claimed that just 0.001 percent of the files on Mega have been taken down for copyright issues, but it remains unclear how much visibility rights holders or anyone else has of the data, and how many requests are made. While there is evidence that counters his numbers.

The company blocked a third-party search engine from accessing publicly available files shared by Mega users. Mega-Search.em was the first site to turn Mega into a download site for the public, but the company acted within 24 hours and the cut-off effectively renders the search service useless.

However, Torrent Freak found that Mega was over-zealously policing content. Legal videos that the blog posted to the service via Mega-Search were immediately taken down as copyright infringing, suggesting Mega is either preventing uploads from third-party clients or aggressively monitoring content uploads. This set-up has reportedly seen thousands of items of content taken down this week, and that contradicts Dotcom’s claim that typically just 50 Mega-hosted files are removed per day.

We’ll have more details on the bounty when it is available.

Headline image via Alexandr Shevchenko / Shutterstock

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